Report: Addressing Food Crisis Will Boost Jobs, Health, Climate Goals

James Emejo in Abuja

A new report has established that early mover countries could accelerate the food systems transformation, boost job opportunities as well as meet targets on health and climate.

The report, Food, Nature and Health Transitions – Repeatable Country Models – offers insights into the actions and investments that can accelerate a country’s transition towards food systems that deliver a stronger economy, better livelihoods for a more inclusive set of people, greater nutritional security and improved health, while causing a lower impact on the climate and nature.

The report was unveiled at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023, held in Switzerland.

Managing Director of the World Economic Forum’s Centre for Nature and Climate, Gim Huay Neo, said, “Transforming food systems provide healthy and nutritious diets and dignified jobs for farmers and producers. This report shows how economic development with environment protection supports communities in climate adaption and mitigation efforts.”

The report, written in collaboration with Bain & Company, presents “repeatable models” from seven “early mover” countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe whose performance has been comparatively strong and whose examples and lessons are widely relevant.

Their stories of transformation identify common, repeatable elements, including the most critical actions and investments for driving change and how they should be coordinated.

Chief Economist at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Maximo Torero Cullen, said, “Depending on the country context, different pathways could be adopted to transform our agrifood systems for improved food security and nutrition and assuring sustainability. Scaling up climate resilience and strengthening our food environment to promote healthy diets are two key interventions with positive impacts on food security, nature, and health.”

On his part, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Royal DSM, Geraldine Matchett, said, “When food fails, everything fails. We must work to transform our food systems to be resilient, sustainable, and healthy.”

The report noted that a number of countries, including Ghana, India, and Viet Nam, have been able to evolve their food systems to improve a broader set of outcomes by unlocking the potential of small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly those that are farmer-allied and operating in local food chains.

Countries can also use innovation to improve productivity, sustainability, and nutritional outcomes, as demonstrated in Algeria, which has improved food security in the face of significant constraints on water availability, while Viet Nam has sustainably intensified its rice production.

The publication stated that farmers were more likely to adopt new practices if the economics work in their favour, but making this happen requires action from many stakeholders, it noted. 

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